Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Italian Braised Beef

Nothing beats a delicious braise on a cold, rainy day.  And, though you might be tempted by the relative ease of a Crock Pot, nothing beats the performance of enameled cast iron.  Yes, there are often more steps involved and you can’t simply dump your ingredients and hit the ‘on’ button, but the exchange in flavor development is immeasurable.  Now, lest I be caught out on this one, I am sure that at some point, I’ll post a Crock Pot recipe.  But not today.  Vive Le Creuset!

This recipe is an adaptation of Giada’s Short Ribs with Tagliatelle.  Though I do enjoy short ribs, they can be rather fatty and I can’t say I relish getting a mouthful of fat goobers when I’m expecting a bite of meat.  Chuck offers nice flavor and is much leaner.  I’ve also adjusted the braising liquid to my taste–that is, more wine, less beef broth.  Finally I really prefer to braise in the oven versus on the stove top.  Not only does it keep my stove top clear for the cooking of other dishes, but the heat is much more even and consistent.

If you happen to be watching your waistline, definitely add this recipe to your line-up.  Forget about low-cal meals with lackluster flavor; though wonderfully rich and satisfying, this dish clocks in at a modest 525 calories when served with 1 cup of pasta.

Click here for the recipe!

A few more swaps…

So I’m gearing up for the launch of another weight loss program and am in the midst of sprucing up the program binder.  This time around, we’ve extended the program to 6 weeks, which means I get to plan two more classes and put together two more chapters.  This is good.  Though a 30 day program was great, I felt super rushed and wished I could have covered more.  So!  For the October launch of Nutrition Makeover, I’ll be adding specific classes devoted to Eating on the Run as well as Fact or Fiction:  Diet Trends and Supplements.

For the Eating on the Run section, I imagine I’ll be writing tips for how eat out without blowing the calorie budget.  One of these handouts will be a ‘swap this for that’ sort of article to show how, even when eating fast food, what you choose can make a big difference in your waistline.  I’ve actually done a post on this topic before and will be adding to it, including more restaurants.  Here are a few of the additions…I think you just might be shocked at a few of them!

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Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies

Love these cookies.  Not only do they taste wonderful, but they’ll make your whole house smell like autumn.  I like to make a double-batch of dough, pre-shape them all, and then freeze for baking-on-demand.  I mean, really, why have a stale cookie when you can have a warm-from-the-oven treat in less than 15 minutes?

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Savory Supper Pie

Next time you need something cozy for dinner, make this.  Pretentious?  No.  Delicious?  Oh yes.  Sauteed onions and leek with ground beef baked beneath a cheesy scone crust…doesn’t that just sound good on a bleary day?  My particular take on this little number was very much inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Supper Onion Pie, found in one of my favorite cookbooks, How to be a Domestic Goddess

One thought–I used ground beef because it was quick, easy, and on hand.  What would take this dish to the next level would most definitely be some braised beef, perhaps leftover from Beef Burguignon?  That would truly be amazing and I have a feeling I’ll be cooking up some extra beef with that in mind next time Julia’s famous recipe calls my name.

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Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon Thyme

I tell you, as soon as the weather drops into the 60’s, I am all about fall cooking.  Though we never really relinquish the grill, I do find myself inspired to heft out the ole’ Dutch oven and I catch myself daydreaming about roasts and braises, almost wishing for the cold weather so I can get to some serious comfort cooking already.  This time of year, I also get excited about my herb garden, particularly those herbs I tend to neglect in the hot summer months.  I don’t know about you, but rosemary, sage, and even thyme scream autumn to me and I look for excuses to sneak them into just about everything.

Which brings me to this recipe.  Now, everyone should know how to roast a chicken.  Though wrestling with the whole bird may seem a little daunting, there is really nothing to it.  In this recipe, you’ll first create a compound butter, which is simply a butter that has been mashed up with all sorts of aromatic deliciousness–fresh herbs, garlic, lemon zest, and seasoning.  Once made, you’ll then spread your creation under the skin of your bird.  Season the outside with a generous sprinking of salt and pepper and–voila!–your chicken is ready to pop in the oven.  Baking a few russets alongside is a no-brainer.

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